The Twinz artworks represent Bhutan at the World Expo


With a motto of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', Expo 2020 – a World Expo is currently hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 (rescheduled from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 due to the pandemic).

The biggest expo in 167 years since its inception, there are 192 countries and 10 organizations participating in the Expo 2020 and The Twinz is a proud participant in the ‘Opportunity theme’ of the expo representing Bhutan with three contemporary paintings. 

Painting 1: The Four Auspicious Animals ©TheTwinz

Painting 2: Thuen Pa Puen Zhi ©TheTwinz

Painting 3: Tshering Namdrup ©TheTwinz

Talking about how Expo 2020 happened, Ugyen and Tashi said that the Executive Director of VAST Bhutan Chimi Zangmo chose them for the Expo Bhutan. After a few rounds of discussion, they decided on three concepts to showcase arts that balance contemporary and traditional arts of Bhutan: Thuen Pa Puen Zhi (4 Friends), Tshering Namdrup (Enlightened Monk), Tak Seng Chung and Druk (four auspicious animals).  

‘Since the Dubai Expo was a global opportunity to express a fresh, relevant and exciting narrative of modern Bhutan, the Twinz signature style and their reputation for delivery on commissioned works on short notices were the factors to choose the Twinz. The concepts were chosen on the themes of our three beloved and revered visuals intrinsically woven in our Bhutanese culture and ethos,’ said Chimi Zangmo, Executive Director, VAST Bhutan

The Journey and Process

The Twinz did their research, conceptualized and started canvas painting the three pieces. They said that it took them about three months to complete the three paintings with Thuen Pa Puen Zhi painting taking the longest and also turning out as one they enjoyed working on the most. Contrary to the expectation of each working on a piece simultaneously, the two of them work collaboratively completing one painting at a time. All three reflect a combination of realism with contemporary, fashion designs and traditional Japanese woodblock prints. 

‘In Buddhism, the wisdom part of the conscious part of the human mind is said to be represented by women. We take inspiration from that and try to make our paintings more feminine and our works have been mostly portraits. The animal element to the painting has been something new and especially the elephant painting. If you look at the painting, there is a realistic perspective to the elephant and at the same time, there are certain flat designs that cancel out that it’s real. That aspect captured the interest,’ Tashi said. 

Painting 4: Female Portrait ©TheTwinz

The Twinz explained that the use of bright colours represents psychedelic experiences. The waves were inspired by the Japanese Master painter Hokusai and thus looked like Japanese block prints. ‘The sun and the moon symbolized the non-duality concept. The contemporary aspect to the traditional theme of the four auspicious animals is embedded in the greenish lion (always embodied as white),’ they said. 

They expressed their disappointment at not being able to be in person at the Expo in Dubai due to the pandemic. It would have been a great opportunity to meet like-minded people from the field and have the exposure to keep up to date with art trends. ‘It was still an honour to display our work at a world stage representing Bhutan. And that we remain grateful to Mrs Chimi Zangmo and VAST Bhutan for the continued support since our first exhibition with VAST in 2016,’ Tashi said. 

Painting 5: Portrait Work ©TheTwinz

Painting 6: Current Work-In-Progress ©TheTwinz

What’s next for the Twinz?

They conveyed their desire to have a solo exhibition in Europe. ‘In the Saatchi Art Gallery in London. That would be the ultimate dream,’ they exclaimed together.  

Having been painting as far as they could remember: starting with pop-ish commercial portraits to have had a solo exhibition at VAST in 2016, another titled ‘Invoking Entities’ in Delhi in 2018 and others in the pipeline, their work is of wonder. 

Their latest work can be found and contacted for purchase from their social media pages @twinz_artist on Instagram and Twinz/Artist on Facebook. For those in Thimphu, Bhutan you can definitely drop by their studio in Motithang for viewing.

Support Bhutanese Creative Industry

To support VAST and its good work, you may consider purchasing a copy of Bhutan Travelog. SGD10 proceeds per book sale will go toward supporting VAST Bhutan, the non-profit championing the art scene in Bhutan.


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